Homo Velamine Interviews Joey Skaggs “Maestro of the Farce” [Spanish and English]

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Hoax Etiquette, Instructionals, Media Literacy, Media Pranks, Political Challenges, Political Pranks, Pranksters, The Future of Pranks, The History of Pranks, The Prank as Art, What Makes a Good Prank?

Spanish Art and Activism Collective Homo Velamine Interviews Joey Skaggs [Spanish and English]

Joey Skaggs: “A fool is a fool, no matter what their political leaning is”
by Demófila Martínez and Luis Platypus
Homo Velamine
October 31, 2019

Joey Skaggs. PHOTO: Sam Ortiz for Observer

Homo Velamine: The increase of fake news in the media in recent years makes us feel that the limits between fact and fiction are more unclear than ever. In the documentary Art of the Prank (2015), you let the viewer peek into the creative process behind one of your hoaxes. The trickiest part seems to be deciding how far you can take it, without crossing the limits of plausibility and creating something that is impossible to believe. After all these years, does it still surprise you how far this limit can actually be pushed? Which of your performances would you say has pushed this limit the farthest and still has been successful?

Joey Skaggs: Pushing the limits of plausibility is the fun part for me. I create the problem and I create the solution. I take a gamble that what I’m doing is so ridiculous that no one’s going to believe it. I want it to be totally absurd because if the news media does fall for it, it will be even funnier and more effective in revealing their gullibility and/or hypocrisy.

When I did “Metamorphosis: Miracle Roach Hormone Cure” in 1981 I played Dr. Josef Gregor, an entomologist with a medical cure-all made from the hormones of cockroaches. I recruited over 70 “actors” posing as devotees, backing up my claim that my roach vitamins cured acne, anemia, menstrual cramps and made you invulnerable to nuclear radiation—just as roaches are. After a very successful press conference out of which came a syndicated news story that went viral, I went on live TV news. I looked like a wacko: I wore mirrored sunglasses, a white suit over a T-shirt that had a huge image of a cockroach on it, and a white Panama hat with a roach pin on its band. But because I said I was a scientist, the reporters didn’t question me…

Read the full interview here in English and in Spanish.